Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

September 2, 1997

Mitchell S. Allen
Constangy, Brooks Smith, LLC
Attorneys At Law
Suite 2400
230 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303-1557

Dear Mr. Allen:

Thank you for your letter dated July 28, 1997, referencing our letter to David Coble of ELB (October 13, 1992), and requesting additional determinations for other situations regarding recordkeeping responsibilities. Please excuse the delay in our response. I will respond by restating each question and then answering it. I will cite the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by page and Q&A number(s) whenever possible.

1) If an employee took prescribed medication on site for allergies or any other non-work related condition rather than an injection, would an adverse reaction to the medication (i.e., rash) that surfaces at work be properly analyzed as a work related injury?

Yes. The first criterion for determining recordability is whether or not the case results from a work accident or an exposure in the work environment (Chart 2, page 32). Since the employee took the prescribed medication on site work relationship is presumed even though it was for allergies or any other non-work related condition. This case should be evaluated as an injury since the adverse reaction resulted from a single incident or something that happened in one instant; e.g., the taking of the prescribed medication (D, Distinguishing between injuries and illnesses, page 37 and D-3, page 38).

2) Does it matter if the prescription medication is being taken for a work related injury or for a non-work related condition?

No. See the above answer.

As you are aware, on February 2 [1996], OSHA published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which presents its proposed revision to the injury and illness recordkeeping requirements. Included in the NPRM are proposed exemptions to our current definition of work relationship. We hope to address the issues raised in the scenarios you presented above through the revision to the recordkeeping requirements.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions, please contact us at Area Code: (202) 219-6463.


Bob Whitmore
Division of Recordkeeping Requirements